As an established tax professional, you would be ready to offer the best value of your client's investment, right? This explains why a significant number of return preparers are keen to enroll in the Annual Filing Season Program. This particular program intends to recognize the efforts of return preparers who are actually non-credentialed. In the process, tax professionals succeed in attaining a higher degree of professionalism.
Tax professionals often have a common query regarding why AFSP would be a necessity. The answer lies in the recognition and reputation that you would be gaining as a tax professional. With various reforms and new inclusions in the taxation system integrated every year, you need to stay abreast of the latest developments and off course, additional credential like AFSP with your name will help you to represent yourself as a credentialed preparer.
1. What tax professionals should know about the AFTR course
The AFTR program is a 6-hour course. It also comes with a comprehensive examination, lasting for 3 hours and including 100 questions. The IRS introduced this examination in 2015. This is a part of the AFSP (Annual Filing Season Program). Being a tax return preparer, you may voluntarily enhance your competence through the continuing education process. In this context, you must note that many professionals are opting for free AFSP CE programs available online from reputed institutes. This knowledge acquisition process will significantly enhance your competence.
In case you want to join a free AFSP course, the online programs and webinars would prove beneficial to you. Particularly, the AFTR program is necessary for non-exempt tax return preparers when they want to be a part of the Annual Filing Season Program. Apart from AFTR, if you are a non-exempt preparer, you need to complete 10 hours of Federal Tax Law courses and 2 hours of courses on Ethics. In the process, you would be accredited with the AFSP Record of Completion.
2. How do you obtain an AFSP ?
AFSP can be obtained by taking 18 hours of continuing education from IRS-Approved CE Providers, including:
3. Structure of the 2021 AFTR course
The Annual Federal Tax Refresher course 2021 consists of three domains:
- The first domain includes the TCJA (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) provisions.
- The second domain consists of a general review
- The third domain contains relevant information on procedures, practices, and professional responsibilities.
4. Benefit of taking the AFSP?
The IRS launched the voluntary Annual Filing Season Program last year as a way to “encourage continuing education (CE) and filing season readiness.” According to an IRS release, 44,000 tax return preparers participated in the program this year. The benefits of taking the AFSP are :
- All tax return preparers who successfully complete the AFSP will be listed on the IRS Federal Tax Return Preparers Directory as certified. This would help you to market yourself as a credentialed preparer.
- PTIN holders without an AFSP Record of Completion or other professional credential are only permitted to prepare tax returns. Annual Filing Season Program participants have limited representation rights. These rights give unenrolled tax preparers the ability to represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
- Upon completing the IRS Annual Filing Season Program, you will receive a record of completion. This is another great way to promote your qualifications as a tax preparer.
- Taking the AFSP will allow you to prove that you are a qualified preparer. There are over 400,000 tax preparers who chose not to complete the program. You can set yourself apart and have the means to show that you are qualified to prepare taxes by completing the program, receiving a record of completion, and adding your name to the official IRS Directory.
5. How to crack the examination?
As a part of the AFSP CE requirements, you will be allowed to appear for an equivalent examination two times, so long as no feedback comes in between these attempts. In case you fail on both these attempts, you may try once again. This time, the examination would be different from the initial version. The training program is, therefore, crucial for the professionals. With the help of right training programs you would also gain substantial knowledge on the necessary aspects. The secret of cracking the examination on your first attempt lies in the quality of training you receive. No wonder why successful professionals count on established online institutes for these programs.